Even without NBA MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard on the court in Game 6 on Thursday night, the San Antonio Spurs absolutely dominated the Houston Rockets on the road.
The game was never really close, with San Antonio opening up a 19-point halftime lead en route to clinching the series in a 39-point road win.
Most of the focus since Game 6 came to a shocking conclusion in Houston has been on the Rockets absolutely failing to show up in the team’s biggest game of the season. James Harden has been a subject of scrutiny after scoring just 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting.
But we really should focus on just how brilliant the Spurs were without their best player. That’s a testament to head coach Gregg Popovich, who continues to prove himself to be one of the top coaches in the professional sports ranks.
This one stat the Spurs referenced following Thursday’s win represents that to a T.
Gregg Popovich becomes the first coach in NBA history to win a playoff series against 14 different Western Conference teams.
— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) May 12, 2017
If you check out the responses to that tweet, you’ll understand just how amazing it is.
Yes, that means Popovich has defeated every single Western Conference team in the playoffs since he took over as the Spurs’ head coach back in 1996.
Pop and his Spurs have the ultimate test in the Western Conference Finals against the two-time defending conference champion Golden State Warriors. Record-wise, the Warriors 67-15 regular season mark represents the best to go up against Popovich during his stint in San Antonio. Golden State is also 8-0 thus far in the playoffs.
Despite being considered underdogs, Pop adds an entirely new dimension to the table for the Spurs. His experience and success will surely give the squad confidence heading into Game 1 in Oakland on Sunday.